Cat obsessively chews and swallows shoelaces. The obvious answer is keeping shoes away from the cats, but that's easier said than done. Try as I may, it's hard to break a lifetime of habit taking off my shoes and not remembering to immediately go lock them away. To make matters worse, the cats have learned the doors in our house can be pushed open with the right technique. It's hilarious until you have no shoe laces left and are worried about your cat dying.

I tried buying a bitter spray, soaked the laces in it. This stuff is gross, if I tie my laces and then eat anything, it's an instant gross bitter taste. Apparently this is delicious to our lace-loving cat.

Edit: We have discussed this with a vet. It might be a condition called Pica.

Maybe there's a particular substance, or idk, metal shoelaces, some solution to this that makes it less likely that when I forget to lock away my shoes, our cat isn't suddenly in a (potentially) life threatening situation eating entire shoe / boot laces, which I believe can get caught in its digestive tract?

  • 1
    You are correct that ingesting shoelaces, any type of string for that matter, can be extremely dangerous, even fatal and require emergency surgery to remove. I'd suggest to consult with your vet, sometimes odd eating habits like this are a symptom of an underlying medical condition. I would guess that something is off here and it isn't just an odd habit since soaking the laces in deterrent doesn't make a difference to your cat.
    – bgse
    May 6, 2022 at 16:41
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    Have you thought about getting shoes without laces, at least for your every day wear shoes? i.e. velcro, buckles, or slip-on shoes.
    – Kai
    May 6, 2022 at 16:47
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    Seconding Kai's suggestion. Sometimes the solution is simply to adjust your own behavior, like switching to water bottles when they tip over glasses, switching to plastic cups when they break glass, or switching to slip-ons when they eat shoelaces.
    – Allison C
    May 6, 2022 at 17:44
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    @Kai Unfortunately I am military and must by regulation wear boot laces. Lace-free running shoes might be an interesting option, to reduce the number of times per day I need to not forget to hide shoes.
    – J.Todd
    May 6, 2022 at 22:02
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    @bgse My wife works at a vet clinic and has discussed with the vet. They suggested it may be a condition called Pica. The cat has many odd behaviors, we compare it to human autism. Not out of any direct correlation with medical assessment, but rather, he acts very very derpy, like a little slow, and walks around the house meowing, loudly but more of a derpy yelp, at all times, since he was very young, nearly a year old now. And obsessively likes stimulation, let wants the hardest face rubs possible for infinite amounts of time (maybe thats more on the normal side?).
    – J.Todd
    May 6, 2022 at 22:08


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